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Last Night In The NBA: A Big Night Of West Coast Basketball

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Happy Tuesday everybody and welcome to another edition of Last Night In The NBA where we catch you up on everything that happened from the night before in the Association. In a weird scheduling twist, there were no NBA games played on the East coast last night. We had just four on the night, and every team that played at home plays in the daunting Western Conference. That means we were in for a potential big time shift in the playoff standings, and boy did that deliver. As always if you happened to be busy and couldn’t watch any of it, here’s what happened

Rockets (53-14) 109 vs Spurs (37-30) 93

The Rockets and the Spurs are definitely on opposite ends of the spectrum. You have HOU, who now owns a 2 game lead over GS for the top spot in the West and the best record in the NBA, and then you have SA, fighting for their playoff lives, their star player still days away from returning. Playing in HOU, it’s no surprise that they played well and don’t let the score fool you. This game was long over by the time the fourth quarter rolled around and SA was able to make this score look somewhat acceptable. The rumors are true, they had no answer for CP3 or James Harden, guys that combined for almost half of HOU’s points

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And here’s the real kicker. The Rockets handled SA pretty easily, and they did it without Eric Gordon making a shot. He went 0-7 (0-6) and as a team the Rockets didn’t even shoot it that well from deep, just 13-44. They won comfortably. Even more impressive was they showed they can actually play defense and aren’t just a team that will simply outscore you by playing in the 120s. If they need to win ugly and grind it out against a team like SA, they’re equipped to do just that. I would say this is the very definition of a complete team. Remember, this performance was coming on a B2B and yet it made no difference.

Also shouts to Celtics legend Gerald Green for the 14/9 off the bench in 20 minutes. Love Gerald and always will

For SA, I’ve blogged a bunch about how weird of a season this has been. The whole Kawhi situation, the fact that this was the first time in 21 years they wouldn’t win 51 games, then it became the first time in 21 years where they had a losing road record, and now, they wake up today in 10th in the West. Completely out of the playoffs for 21 years. These are sentences I did not think I would ever type when it comes to the Spurs, but here we are.

This is what happens when as a team you shoot 40/39% on the road against the best team in the NBA. When only Rudy Gay scores in double figures for the starters and he had just 13. Kyle Anderson went 2-6, Gasol 1-5, Mills 1-3, and Murray 3-7. That’s gross. Thank God the bench actually showed up or this would have been even uglier and that’s saying something.

The Spurs started this game going 2-14 from the field, and thanks to Tony Parker actually made it a game after the first quarter, but that would be short lived. Now things can obviously change in the coming days, and Kawhi is expected to be back on Thursday and I will say this. Let’s say they do get in and snag a 7/8 seed, if Kawhi is healthy that’s still a matchup nobody wants in my opinion. As confident as GS/HOU will be in a playoff series, playing a Kawhi led Spurs team is much different then playing UTA/LAC/DEN.

Also, imagine if this is JUST like 1996, the Spurs miss the playoffs, somehow win the lottery and take Ayton? That’s what’s happening here isn’t it?

Bucks (36-31) 121 vs Grizzlies (18-49) 103

First off it’s good for the Bucks that they finally won on the road, given the fact they are still under .500 away from home. They’ve now won 2 in a row and while they still find themselves in the 7 spot in the East, they are just 1 game back of PHI for 6 and 2.5 back of CLE for 4th. Things are still fluid and they can move if they continue to play well. As you can expect their Big 3 looked good

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and the Bucks were able to beat MEM for the first time on the road since 2009. That’s a looonnnnng time. Last night was also a reunion for MIL, as Brandon Jennings made his Bucks debut for the second time and you know what, he looked pretty good!

I’m pretty sure he was in China or something, so coming over and all the sudden putting up 16/8/12 is no joke. I do remember how bad he was for WSH in the playoffs, he was practically a plant by Ainge to ruin  them from within, so I’m not counting that out for this Spring as well considering MIL is currently matched up with BOS. Ainge is always one step ahead, remember that.

For MEM, look 18 losses in a row is impressive, I’m not even mad. That’s amazing.

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Thunder (40-29) 106 vs Kings (21-47) 101

This was probably a little closer than most OKC fans preferred, but a wins a win and they sure need wins. This game started out pretty ugly, with neither team able to crack 20 points in the opening quarter, then things got a little scary when SAC threw up 39 in the third quarter, but a strong finish by OKC prevented what would have been a disaster. The Thunder can thank their Big 3 for this one because the bench really didn’t do dick, despite shooting pretty well.

They also got a nice night from Corey Brewer, who had 16/6 out of nowhere. He had at least 16 points just one prior time this season, and only had four games in double figures to his name before the trade. Well, since he’s gotten to OKC, let’s have a look at how he’s done

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That’s some much needed production from that position. OKC woke up this morning to find themselves in the 4 spot in the West. That’s a pretty big jump and just goes to show you what a quick little 3 game winning streak can do to a team this time of  year. You have the Spurs going one way and OKC the other, and look how drastic of a change it was. MIN is now down to 6, and everything from seeds 4-10 is still a shit show.

For SAC, nobody here is surprised with the result so we don’t need to dig too deep into it. Instead, we can just enjoy the solid performance from Bogdan Bogdanovic who continues to have a great rookie season as well as Justin Jackson

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Trail Blazers (41-26) 115 vs Heat (36-32) 99

Make no mistake, the Blazers are for real. Now 23-11 at home and sitting pretty in the 3rd spot in the West, their season has to be up there with one of the best stories of the year. The biggest reason for their rise up the standings is you guessed it, the play of Damian Lillard

I don’t know how it’s going to shake out, but if he misses an All NBA team this year that is a goddamn travesty. I don’t know who you leave off, but Dame absolutely deserves to be on one, he’s been that good. The thing with this Blazers team is we’ve seen them flourish offensively before, the difference is their play on the defensive end. Do you know they have the 7th best Drtg in the entire NBA? It’s just fractions of a point worse than GS, and we all agree they are pretty elite at defense right? That’s why I’m buying this version of the Blazers. They have the 1-2 punch with Dame and CJ, they have a big that can do work in Nurkic,

they have decent but not great reserves, and their defense is no joke. You pair them against a hobbled MIN team or a hobbled NO team in the first round and they should have no problem.

For MIA, this loss has them still in the playoffs in the 8 spot with a 5 game lead over DET, and they trail MIL by just 0.5 games so it’s not the end of the world. Granted you never like to get run out of the gym on the road but they did get some solid performances from guys like Dragic and Justise Winslow

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Unfortunately they got off to a bad start defensively and gave up 34 points in the first quarter because to be honest they played POR pretty even after that. I still think they finish in the 7/8 spot which given their expectations would be a very successful year.

And that’s it! You’re now caught up on everything that happened last night in the NBA. We have a JAM packed night tonight, with 11 games in total including some good ones like IND/PHI, MIN/WSH, CHA/NO, DET/UTA, and DEN/LAL. As always if you can’t watch them all just come back here tomorrow and I’ll fill you in